Apr 042012
 

Elkhorn to Lockport, part 2

By Danny Mayer

“Thank you for showing me Gest today, the two lock houses facing Cedar Creek those bureaucrats will soon raze.”

My breath flashes vapor at each line. Nearing late-afternoon on the Kentucky River, the sun has only recently asserted itself in the sky, somewhere near Stevens Branch on pool 3, four river miles past. This would have been before the portage at Gest, Lock 3 across from Monterey, and before the exploratory amble up the hill to see the two Gest lock houses in decay, the result of a strategic decision by the state and its people to abandon upkeep of grounds and water. Before the ham and cheese on bread, before the piss breaks, before reloading and shoving off, one-by-one from the remnant pad below the lower lock gates, to ferry back into the main-stream (eddying overnight at Severn Creek) on our way to Lockport.

Say, three hours ago. Continue reading »

Mar 072012
 

By Wesley Houp

To say a river is a living system is a scientific truism that even the most scientifically uninitiated intellect can grasp with minimal cognitive stretching: rivers teem with life, from unicellular diatoms to aquatic invertebrates and on up to vertebrata, fish, amphibian, avian, mammalian.  Watersheds branch like trees, only their life-force moves in reverse from tiniest green-shoot to broad trunk, the faintest spring or rill gaining momentum, joining forces with other rivulets, debouching into larger creeks that eventually embolden the flow of master streams.   Geologists, taking the long view of things, give rivers human-like agency, noting how they “capture” and “pirate” this or that watershed, or “desert” and “abandon” this or that channel, ever insisting on a course of least resistance.  Rivers, like so much of life on earth, adapt to physiographic vagaries and persist through course of time as if accumulating the knowledge of experience.

Lock 3 is nearly topped by the Kentucky River, which ran at 16.5 feet on the Lockport gauge. Photo by Wes Houp.

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